Dozen Crypto Companies Await Portugal License Despite Bank Account Closures

The central bank of Portugal is now reviewing 12 requests from businesses that want to provide crypto-related services in the country. The applications are pending decision amid recent reports that some commercial banks are closing accounts of already approved operators.

Binance Among Cryptocurrency Platforms Seeking Authorization in Portugal

Portugal’s monetary authority is currently evaluating requests submitted by 12 entities that intend to offer Portuguese clients services for virtual assets, Dinheiro Vivo unveiled. The crypto firms need a license from Banco de Portugal (BdP) to work in the country, still considered one of Europe’s most crypto-friendly jurisdictions.

Final decisions on the applications are expected by the end of the year. That’s unless the regulator asks the companies to provide additional information, in which case the deadline could be moved to 2023, the Portugal News English-language portal reported, quoting the business news outlet.

Among the applicants to enter the Portuguese crypto market is Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trade volume. The digital currency trading platform has started to recruit talent in the country, having posted six vacancies on its Portuguese page, even though it’s still waiting for a green light from the BdP.

Criptoloja, Mind the Coin, Digital Luso, Utrust, and Bison Digital Assets are the five crypto brokers that are already operating in Portugal. The new requests are an indication that the nation’s crypto industry is developing and is likely to soon grow to a total of 17 registered exchanges.

At the same time, crypto companies are also facing certain challenges. A report recently revealed that major Portuguese banks are closing their accounts or refusing to open new ones, which is hindering normal business activities in the sector.

According to an article published by Jornal de Negócios and quoted by Bloomberg, the banks Caixa Geral de Depósitos, BCP, Santander, Abanca, and BiG are shutting down the accounts of four of the five digital asset managers.

In a statement, the Bank of Portugal said it’s monitoring the problem but also pointed out that its competences, when it comes to crypto assets, do not extend to “areas that go beyond the prevention of money laundering and the financing of terrorism.” The financial authority elaborated:

The decision to open or maintain bank accounts depends, in these cases, on the risk management policies that each banking institution intends to undertake.

The situation may bring bad publicity to Portugal which had established itself as a crypto-friendly jurisdiction in the past few years. The EU member state attracted many crypto enthusiasts with its zero-percent tax on crypto gains, affordable living costs, and mild Mediterranean climate, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Do you think Portuguese banks will change their attitude towards crypto businesses if Banco de Portugal approves more operators in the sector? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.